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Another Nail in the Coffin

Feb 7, 2012

Another Nail in the Coffin

What Today's Decision by the 9th Circuit on Prop 8 Does and Doesn't Mean for Same-Sex Marriage in California and across the U.S.

There is cause to celebrate today.  The Ninth Circuit’s ruling today upholding the decision of Judge Walker takes California–and this nation–one important step closer to marriage equality.  It reaffirms that the proponents of Prop 8, who would deny this basic right to millions of their fellow citizens, never had any real facts to back up their claims that same-sex marriage harms traditional marriage, or children, or society at large.  Indeed, as the plaintiffs showed in the trial court, study after study has demonstrated that promoting stable, loving relationships is a good thing all around.  This of course comes as no shock to anyone who knows gay and lesbian married couples–and the children reared by them.

Unfortunately, today’s decision does not mean that same-sex couples can resume getting hitched in California.  Prop 8 may be unconstitutional, but it’s still in effect until the Supreme Court finally rules.  But the long legal process underlying the challenge to this insidious law has had at least one positive effect:  As state after state legalizes same-sex marriage, more Americans have had a chance to realize that the sky is not falling.  Recent polls indicate a slim national majority now support marriage equality.

Most tellingly, 70% of Americans under the age of 30 support same sex marriage.  And so if the battle is not won in the courtroom, it will inevitably be won in the court of public opinion.  If the Supreme Court wants to be on the correct side of history, to say nothing of justice, it will and must uphold today’s decision.

I am nearly 75 years old.  I have lived through four wars, spent my childhood in two U.S. internment camps, and watched a nation go from segregation and Jim Crow to electing an African American president. 

The promise of true equality in America remains unfulfilled, but with each moment like today, I know that we can be a nation that lives up to its ideals.  And I can’t wait for all those wedding invitations.